The Key to Success Is Authenticity

Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common that has very little to do with luck, education, or money – it’s actually their ability to be true to themselves and their dreams. Let’s take a look at three entrepreneurs whose authenticity helped them build wildly successful empires, even when the odds were against them.

living an authentic life - career

(Image Credit: Pabak Sarkar/Flickr)

1. Richard Branson, Virgin Group

While many would consider dyslexia a drawback in the business world, Branson saw it as his greatest strength, especially as an entrepreneur.

“When we [Virgin Group] launched a new company, I reviewed the ads and marketing materials and asked those presenting the campaign to read everything aloud to test the phrasing and concept,” says Branson in The Washington Post. “If I could grasp it quickly, then it passed with muster. We would get our message across only if it was understandable at first glance.”

His “disability” didn’t hold him back, it helped him figure out a simpler, more efficient way to conduct business – and it has proved to be pretty successful when you consider he is a self-made billionaire.

2. Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss

American-born Geisel pursued an education at Oxford University to fulfill his father’s wishes for him to become a college professor. However, after boredom got the best of him, Geisel left college to travel around Europe instead.

After ending up back in the U.S., Geisel pursued his true calling as a cartoon artist and gained notoriety for his unique illustration style. According to, his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was “rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.” If Geisel hadn’t stayed true to what he wanted in a career, then the world might have missed out on the truly brilliant world of Dr. Seuss.

3. Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company

In 1934, Disney set out to produce the first feature-length animated film, which had never been done before. The film industry didn’t take well to Disney’s grandiose plans, going so far as to mark his project “Disney’s Folly.”

Despite the ridicule, Disney continued on with his vision and put the newly named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into production anyway. The full-length animated film premiered on December 21, 1937 and received rave reviews, earning “over $8 million during its initial release — about $130 million today,” according to a Time Magazine article.

Disney’s authenticity and unwavering determination helped turn his dream into a magnificent reality and a legacy that still lives on today.

Leading an authentic life isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it requires a decent amount of unwavering patience, determination, and passion. For instance, Theodor Geisel’s first book was rejected 27 times before it was published, but he still persisted on with his vision because he believed in himself and his unique abilities

The lesson here is to figure out what your authentic life looks like and begin taking steps towards that path, whatever that looks like and takes. As a parting gift, here are five motivating quotes to jump-start your journey to living an authentic life today:

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – C.G. Jung

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” – Eckhart Tolle

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings

“Run, run, run – with everything you have – into everything you are meant to be.” – Tama Kieves

“We admire people for their strength, but we love them for their vulnerability.” – Unknown

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